My Dad became one of the most popular deejays on CKWX, Vancouver's #1 country music station at the time. At night and on days off he fiddled and sang his heart out as the leader of "Elmer Tippe & The Supercountry Band". Dad won many awards over the years from the BC Country Music Association. He won "Broadcaster of the Year" (7 times), Male Vocalist, and Country Person of the Year. He was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1988.
I grew up in radio stations, which may explain why I enjoy spending time visiting local country stations in every town we play. I love to get on the air and talk to fans and friends -- who are really the same thing. Fans are just friends I haven't met yet.
Elmer Tippe & Supercountry were one of the best country bands in Canada. Some people say they were the best in North America during that time. My Dad was known as "Canada's answer to Ray Price". I was lucky to have been surrounded by some of the finest musicians ever to pluck a note from the time I was just a baby. It was a proud moment when Dad was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame in Sacramento, CA in 1993.
Western swing provided the rhythm and sounds that gave birth to country dancing as we know it today. Two-steps and line-dances, although more distantly rooted in the folk dances of our ancestors, probably would not have evolved had not Bob Wills and his peers blended traditional country, folk and blues with the big band sound. It's irresistible! You just can't listen to that stuff and keep your feet still.
When my Dad's band played, people danced. I always remembered that. When I began to make music, I wanted people to dance just like they did when my Dad played. Some dreams do come true.
When you put it all together, it's no surprise that I make my living today from creating music that people love to dance to and radio stations, thank goodness, like to play and you like to listen to. But it took me a while to realize that this was what I was meant to do.
Country music to me was a way of life. It wasn't something you thought about. It just was.
I don't think I ever really thought of music as a career when I was a kid but I wanted to play. I took guitar lessons from the time I was eight until I was eleven or twelve years old.
I continued to write music through my teens and played around with music with my friend, Chris Rolin. I still play music with Chris today. He's the lead guitarist in Stetson Moon.
When I completed high school, I went to work in the nearby B.C. Forest Products Sawmill.
Bonnie and I had dated during high school but, after Bonnie graduated, our relationship developed into something more than just a teenage romance. We were married in August 1979.
Bonnie was not into being married to a musician at that time, so we agreed that I would continue to write my own music but avoid the band scene. I went back to school and took classes in woodworking and construction, went to work doing framing, then graduated to contracting. Our children were born during this time; Tyler in August 1981 and Cameron in July 1983.
Chris and I were still hanging around together writing and experimenting with different sounds. I put my construction skills to use and built a sound room in Chris' basement. Next thing we knew, we were picking up bits and pieces of recording equipment and putting our songs on tape. One day we took a chance and mailed them out. The results were encouraging!
We thought, "What the heck, let's do an EP." So we did. It was called 'After All These Years'. We were delighted when two singles from this recording received National charting across Canada.
Meanwhile, I had taken my Real Estate License and was selling properties in the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows area .
It was at a Christmas party in our home when we were entertaining some of my fellow realtors that Bonnie remarked, "Anyone can sell real estate." Yeah right. We dared her to take the course. Six months later she was selling real estate with me and her career was taking off. Eight months later she was independent, working on her own. I still don't believe that 'anyone' can sell real estate. But I know that Bonnie can. Soon she was financially able to support our family and her wannabe entertainer of a husband. So Chris and I put together a duo act performing to the beat of pre-programmed bass and drum tracks.
We played anywhere and everywhere we could, learning everything we could about the business of music and accepting direction from knowledgeable pros. But we still didn't have a band.
In 1994, encouraged by our reviews, the business advice we'd received, and the audiences we played to, I took a big chance and traveled to Nashville to record a full-length Compact Disc with top session players. 'Should'a Seen Her Comin', featured10 original tunes. The first six singles from the recording hit the charts on both "RPM" and "The Record".
It was then that Stetson Moon was formedů